It was just two years ago that a 36-year-old with autism from Kansas was fatally shot during a routine traffic stop, as WPVI-TV 6 News reported. Since that time, many counties in Kansas, as well as other states, have adopted programs involving putting window clings on automobiles and houses. These window stickers serve to alert police officers and first responders to individuals who have autism or other cognitive impairments that may result in communication barriers.
“It is our hope these can provide peace of mind to families and minimize the stress involved in an emergency situation by better preparing first responders when they interact with your loved one or client.”
These window clings offer peace of mind to family members of autistic individuals. They, however, also better equip police officers and first responders to handle an emergency situation in the best possible manner.
Johnson County Police Department recently started a local “Take Me Home” program, which offered free window clings to family members of an individual with special needs. Just four days after the program was revealed, the sheriff’s office announced they had depleted almost their entire stock of window stickers and would need to restock.
The Take Me Home program was developed over 10 years ago. The program includes a national database that provides guardians and caregivers with the opportunity to submit a photo of a loved one with autism or any other cognitive condition. In addition to the photo, loved ones can submit a physical description as well as emergency contact information. The program is intended to help individuals who many have a hard time communicating with first responders and police officers.
The start-up of the Take Me Home program in Johnson County, Kansas, comes just a year after Joey’s Law was signed into place by Sam Brownback, the previous governor of Kansas. This law was put into place to protect motorists who have communication barriers after the fatal shooting of Joey Weber in 2016 during a routine traffic stop.
During the traffic stop, Weber struggled with police officers. Unaware of his autism, he was fatally shot after police believed he was resisting arrest and becoming aggressive.
In addition to window stickers, Joey’s Law made it possible for placards, license plate decals, and driver’s license indicators to be issued to individuals who may struggle to communicate with first responders. The goal of Joey’s Law and the Take Me Home program is to ensure the terrible tragedy that happened to Weber never happens to anyone else.